Judy Jeanes, RN, CBCN, is oncology program coordinator and oncology nurse navigator for Denton Regional Medical Center in Denton, Texas. She has served as a nurse navigator since August 2006.
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Q: What is the most important work you do as a nurse navigator?
Judy Jeanes: The most important part of my work is being present when the patient is given the diagnosis. I call this the “deer in the headlights” moment for the patient and family. I am there to provide answers to questions they have not even thought about. I have the privilege to start the patient on the first steps of the cancer journey, such as helping them get established with a surgeon or oncologist.
Q: What do you like best about your job?
JJ: As a breast cancer survivor myself, I can connect with patients on a personal level. I can see some relief on their faces when they know I have survived for 26 years. Especially when a patient in diagnosed under the age of 40, they can see that someone is still going strong after being diagnosed at age 38. I want to make this journey easier for my patients than it was for me.
Q: What value do you think nurse navigation provides?
JJ: The value of nurse navigation is having one person to go to for care coordination, one person that can answer or find the answer to the patients’ questions.
Q: What technology do you use in your position?
I work under a partnership with Sarah Cannon and Denton Regional Medical Center. Sarah Cannon is the oncology service line for our company, HCA. I have a state-of-the-art software program where I chart my patient’s information. It is a program that speaks to the hospital’s electronic charting system and it has decreased my time doing “paperwork.”
Q: What would you say to an organization that is contemplating whether to implement a nurse navigation program?
JJ: To any facility looking to implement nurse navigation, I would say not only does the program provide needed service to assist patients through the stages of cancer, but the improvement in customer satisfaction and HCAHPS scores will be dramatic.
Q: What advice would you give to other navigators who are looking to make an even greater impact on their community?
JJ: I would encourage navigators to become more involved in their communities via ACS Relay for Life, LLS Light the Night or whatever cancer fundraisers occur in their area. The reason is two-fold: there’s the spirit and rewards of volunteering, and it also shows patients I navigate that they can become involved and give back after the diagnosis. Anytime we help someone else, we benefit!